Friday, 30 September 2011

Autumn Winds

Traction Kiting
Despite being fooled by a few days of unusually warm temperatures, it is Autumn. It's an interesting season for photographers and the challenge is to find new ways of making something that has been photographed a million times before look new. However, sometimes something completely new comes along just because you happen to be in the right place at the right time. That is exactly what happened to me on a windy autumn day a couple of years back and it has resulted in new friendships and new photographic opportunities

I was walking along the dunes close to a large expanse of sandy beach in western Galloway with my camera. There was a bit of an autumn breeze blowing and I was looking for inspiration in the waving dune grasses and the drifting sand. It's always worth commenting again, even although it's been said a hundred times before, that cameras do not like salt water or sand! I was being extremely careful.

Lone Kiter

Over the top of the dunes I could see brightly coloured kites bobbing around against a blue sky. Intrigued, I wandered closer and discovered a group of traction kiters having great fun on an empty beach with the tide well out. Now, I don't do a lot of sports photography although I have covered a few sporting events in the past but this was something different. There was speed, colour, fun and those superbly bright billowing kites. Additionally it was a new thing for me. It was too much to resist. I wandered down to chat to the guys and girls - for I soon discovered it's very much a unisex sport.

The Black Knight (reminds me of the baddie in a James Bond movie)

Half an hour later I was getting lots of photos but more importantly I was learning quickly the best way to get the photos I wanted. I wanted to capture the lone kiter and the vastness of the space in which he was travelling. I also wanted to capture speed along with the splashes where the receding tide had left large pools and I wanted to capture those zany moments where things don't go according to plan. 

The Thrill of the Race
Since my initial meeting with the kiters I have followed them from Galloway to the beaches of St Andrews in Fife to get more of these photos. I can now admire the skill in the sport and whilst I haven't yet ventured into a buggy I have had a couple of shots at flying the kites. It's not as easy as it looks! To be honest it's all too much like hard work and I much prefer being on my side of the lens.

All Wrapped Up

I hope that you enjoy the photos and if you are a photographer it's a good lesson in getting out there and trying something new.


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Articles and photography copyright of Tom Langlands

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